looks at the use of “needle dropped” songs, many of them popular tunes, in movies. Specifically, in more than one. Yet they are not officially considered part of a film’s score. A score consists of those orchestral, choral, or instrumental pieces some consider background music. Both music forms are equally utilized as cues by filmmakers for a specific purpose or to elicit certain reactions by the audience.
On December 6, 1961, singer Solomon Burke recorded the country/soul/R&B mashup “Cry to Me.” The song’s upbeat melody, crisp tempo, and soaring vocal belie its themes of loneliness and weariness. It was released in 1962 as a single with “I Almost Lost My Mind” on the b-side and placed on Billboard’s Hot R&B (peaking at #5) and Hot 100 (#44) charts upon its release. The song was written and produced by Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell), a Juilliard-trained musician, with whom Burke had a rocky relationship. Burke had rejected two other Berns compositions during the same session and was reluctant to record “Cry” as well — until Burke decided to speed it up. The song became one of the singer’s biggest hits, cementing his image as the “King of Rock ‘n’ Soul,” and it soon had a permanent place in the popular music songbook. Per Wikipedia, the varied and numerous artists to cover the immortal track include Betty Harris, the Pretty Things, the Rolling Stones, Raul Malo of the Mavericks, and the late great Tom Petty. The song was recently used in two mostly different features to very different effect, released less than a year apart: ’71 (2014) and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015). While both films share certain plot keywords and deal in varying degrees with covert operations, the tone of each couldn’t be more different.